Ending Online Defragmentation

Over the past year, I have:

deactivated 4 twitter accounts,

deleted 2 Facebook pages,

canceled 1 LinkedIn account,

deleted 1 Pinterest account,

let Google Plus die,

canceled 3 photography site memberships,

canceled my Amazon Prime membership and am no longer shopping on Amazon,

am no longer posting on or checking my Facebook account,

deleted both Etsy and Square Online stores for my inlay business,

deleted multiple apps from my phone,

unsubscribed from multiple email lists (ongoing),

unsubscribed from multiple Yahoo groups as Yahoo Groups has gone away,


removed many notification permissions from multiple apps on my phone (ongoing).

As a result, I am:


feeling less all over the place,

writing more,

feeling more centered,

having fewer interruptions,

praying more,

updating my resume,

dreaming again,

finishing art projects

and …

anticipating some thing(s) amazing just around the bend.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

This Painful Extraction from Amazon

Recently, I shared a post about my intention to end my relationship, Prime and otherwise, with Amazon, due to a variety of reasons so stated.

As with most relationships, especially those of the online capitalistic ilk, such a severing of ties is time consuming and excruciatingly painful.

I offer the following as a cautionary tale:

1) Amazon Prime Photos – I recently took advantage of the Prime benefit and uploaded/transferred all of my photos to Amazon Prime photos in the cloud. Over the past month, I have been attempting to transfer my photos over to my Flickr account. This involves using MultCloud which is buggy and limits the amount I can transfer or downloading from Amazon (which again limits the amount I can download), then uploading back to Flickr. Talk about time consuming! Just beware: Amazon makes it extremely difficult to remove/reclaim your photos.

2) Replacement parts for products purchased on Amazon – Last week the lamps in my bug zapper died and I had to grit my teeth and order replacement bulbs on Amazon. Hopefully, that is the only item purchased on Amazon that will keep me tied to the company, but it looks less likely as I think of all of the stuff I have purchased over the years. So take note: cut the tie sooner rather than later and begin researching other options.

3) Blink and the like – Fortunately, I never got into the Alexa, Echo, Key stuff. They feel more like fluff/toys and not overly necessary or useful. However, I do have 3 Blink cameras. I love the security they provide for our home as well as simply knowing what visitors we have at the house (including the occasional bird). Well, Amazon bought the company. As of now, it looks like the app is still independent. Hopefully, that will remain the status quo for the foreseeable future. Though of course in this day and age one can never know. So buyer beware: if you are thinking of leaving Amazon, what will you do with your internet of things?

I was hoping to have cancelled my account by now, but I am still transferring photos. 12,000 plus and still counting. Sigh.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Amazon or Anabaptist? – An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos,

The opposition of Amazon (hereafter referred to as “your company”) to a tax law to help the homeless in Seattle was the last straw. Let me explain.

After your company stopped construction on a new office building in protest over a previous law, you felt the watered down version of the tax bill the city council passed in May was still too much. So you continued to pressure the council until it buried compassion at the feet of the god of capitalism to rescind even this edict in June.

Therefore, I have decided that I can no longer in good conscience remain a Prime member and customer of Amazon.

Here are some comparative figures:

As of June 2018, there are over 12,000 homeless in and around Seattle. This does not include the 33,000 people who live and work in unsafe buildings, according to the Seattle Times.

Currently, your company has approximately 40,000 employees in Seattle, who work in the 8.1 million square feet of office space you control which is almost 20% of all of the prime office space in the city. I suspect the majority of your employees do not live in unsafe housing and their ability to pay high rents is one of the main reasons there is a housing crisis in Seattle.

Over the past year, homelessness in the Seattle area has increased by 4%, while your company’s North American revenue alone for 4Q 2017 rose 42%.

The May 2018 version of the city council tax bill would have raised $47 million dollars per year. Your company’s net income for just the 4Q of 2017 was $1.9 billion, which included a tax benefit of $789 million due to the change in U.S. tax code.

This is particularly troubling. Your company received $789 million in tax benefits and you couldn’t even support a paltry $47 million tax to help the homeless in your home town?

Furthermore, as I learned while researching this article, this is only one of the most recent in a long line of troubling business practices and decisions made by your company.

There have been several media reports detailing the poor working conditions for warehouse employees in your company, namely that they barely have time to go to the bathroom and can be fired for being sick. And the contractors your company hires to deliver packages as part of Amazon Flex fare even worse.

Your company has a history of fierce opposition to unionization so the workers described above and others are not able to advocate for and force better working conditions. Or in the case of your company’s recent takeover of Whole Foods, they have very little say in a decision that caused a significant amount of layoffs and brought about a culture change in the way Whole Foods does business.

In May, The Guardian published a report that your company has been marketing and selling Amazon Rekognition facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies, a decision which poses a grave threat to personal privacy and individual freedom. Nor am I comfortable with your continued monopoly over the “internet of things” or your Echo, Alexa, Key, and Blink tentacles that reach inside my house and into the intimate details of my life.

And more recently, the Washington Post (which you own and I still subscribe to for now) reported that your company continues to profit from the sale of white supremacist propaganda and products, in direct violation of your company’s policy against selling products that promote hate.

You continue to raise the fee for Prime membership, up $20 from last year and $40 from 5 years ago, to $120 annually. Even your student Prime membership is going up from $49 to $59. You claim you offer additional benefits, but it seems a little greedy to me for you to keep raising the fee with all of the profits you continue to make off of your Prime members.

This does not take into account the multitude of storefront bookstores that you forced out of business early on when books were the primary products you sold. Since then you have expanded into anything and everything, much to the detriment of small businesses everywhere. Now I learn you might for all practical purposes become a pharmaceutical company.

But even without all of your shoddy business dealings, after I leave behind the magic of clicking a mouse and having an item appear on my doorstep, the product you sell is really not all that great. Like all good snake oil salesmen though, you have marketed convenience and created a demand that does not exist. If I get off my rear end and shop locally, I can usually find something at a lower price and of a decidedly higher quality. But even if I pay more, I have the satisfaction of contributing to my local economy, supporting local artisans and small businesses, and perhaps in my small way am helping to strengthen my community.

I have caught a glimpse of the future you are pulling us towards and I do not like it. I must confess that your siren song has lured me away from the Anabaptist values that I grew up with:

– A belief in community and in the equal and significant value of every precious member of that community.

– A belief in living simply so others may simply live.

– A belief in speaking up for the voiceless, advocating for those who cannot do so themselves, and working to end any and all forms of injustice.

– A belief in the way of peace and in practicing nonviolence in all of my life choices, including where and what I buy.

– A belief in service and in helping others in any and every way I can.

– A belief in being a good steward of my time, talents, and money, spending such in a way that honors God and the values I have listed above.

I have come to the conclusion that your company is the antithesis to these values and therefore, since I cannot serve both God and Mammon, I am choosing to serve God. My only regret is that it has taken me so long to come to this decision. I ask God’s forgiveness for the damage I may have caused another by my collusion with your company. I continue to pray that your company will cease to worship at the altar of profit and that you will be grounded in your past to be driven by an obsession with compassion, rather than with customers.

And may God, so rich in grace and slow to anger, have mercy on all of our souls.


Keith M. Lyndaker

Posted in Musings and Reflections

From Facebook to Amazon, these are the default privacy settings you should change – The Washington Post

Hi folks,

This is a pretty important (and kind of scary) article on protecting your privacy, and what information/activity is automatically being recorded mostly without our knowledge.

I spent today following the recommendations. I suggest you do the same.



The woman with red 3-inch high heels
marches down the sidewalk with a big,
brown cardboard box in each hand.
She holds them on either side of
her like shields, as if to somehow
thwart the glances of the idle men
who lean against the buildings nearby.

Though they do not move as she walks their way,
they are no longer idle.
Subtle changes;
a trembling lip,
a sharp intake of breath,
a tongue flicks across suddenly dry lips.

And the eyes.
Dull orbs quickly brighten,
a dozen dark pairs turn her way,
and the battle begins.
Gazes fall upon her like archers’ bolts.

She holds her head high and guards herself well,
but hips 3-inches higher and bright red shoes
are too much to hide.
And the shields are only paper. The chariot is reached,
the bucklers are stuffed into the trunk,
and the Amazon leaves another
battleground behind.

March 1, 1995